Air cargo down during 2011

by Array

GENEVA, SWITZERLAND: Last year was a hard one for the air cargo industry.

That’s the conclusion of the International Air Transport Association. Its year-end study found that despite a slight increase in December, overall demand for air cargo fell 0.7 percent in 2011.

The same report suggests that 2012 isn’t necessarily going to be much better.

“Improving business confidence and encouraging news from the US economy are heartening developments. But it is far too early to start predicting a soft landing for 2012. The Euro zone crisis is far from over. Failure to achieve a durable solution will have dire consequences for economies around the world. And it would most certainly tip the airline industry into the red.”

According to the report, in the cargo sector, “growth in demand lagged capacity increases…at 4.1 percent, putting downward pressure on load factors”.

Overall, in 2011 the freight load factor was 45.9 percent. In 2010 it was 48.1 percent.

The month of December bucked the general trend for the year and produced stronger numbers. Freight capacity was up 4.4 percent compared with December 2010 and the freight load factor was 46.1 percent. Additionally, international demand was 1.5 percent ahead of the November figures while domestic demand was 3.2 percent higher compared with the previous month and 5.5 percent better thanĀ  December 2010.

The report concludes the December figures give “evidence to the view that international trade may be stabilizing. However, the situation for airlines in these markets has deteriorated significantly”.